Johnson, Hawks rout Bucks
If his teammates have their way, he won’t be changing it anytime soon.
Wearing a black headband, Johnson scored 36 points—28 in the first half—and the Atlanta Hawks romped to a 110-85 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks in a makeup game Tuesday night.
Johnson donned the headband to protect the back of his scalp after undergoing a procedure to treat a skin infection. It must have helped his shooting touch, too. He made six straight three-pointers on the way to the highest-scoring half by an Atlanta player this season.
“He wanted to take it off at halftime,” Hawks center Al Horford said. “We were like, ‘No way.’ ”
Johnson has to wear the headband at least a few more games to cover his wound.
After that, he’s not sure.
“I’m not really a headband kind of guy,” Johnson said, breaking into a grin. “But for right now, I’ve got to wear it.”
With Johnson firing away, the Hawks went on a 20-0 run that started at the end of the first quarter and extended into the second. The Bucks missed 10 straight shots—plus turned it over four times—during a scoring drought of nearly 6 minutes.
Andrew Bogut led Milwaukee with 21 points. That wasn’t nearly enough against Johnson and the Hawks, who shot a staggering 63 percent (46 of 73).
“This was much needed,” Johnson said. “We were playing a Bucks team that’s really given us a lot of problems.”
Last year, Milwaukee surprisingly took the Hawks to seven games in the opening round of the playoffs, even with Bogut out with an injury. This season, the Bucks had won two of three meetings, including a 108-91 rout in Atlanta back in November.
This game, originally scheduled for Jan. 11, was postponed after an ice storm crippled Atlanta.
“It’s just another one of those games where we didn’t play very well,” coach Scott Skiles said. “We were just too slow.”
The Hawks were bolstered by the return of Horford, the All-Star center who had missed the previous game because of an ailing left ankle. Otherwise, they stuck with the lineup that snapped a four-game losing streak last weekend: Johnson shifting up to small forward, with Kirk Hinrich and Jeff Teague starting in the backcourt.
The way Johnson played, it didn’t matter who else was on the court. He made 13 of 19 shots—6 of 9 beyond the arc—to bury the Bucks.
The Hawks led by as many as 33 down the stretch as both teams emptied their benches.
“We haven’t had a win like this all year,” coach Larry Drew said. “Hopefully a game like this will give us some juice.”